OTT 101: Everything You Need to Know to Stream Video Content to Roku and Apple TV

June 9, 2021

5 minutes

If you’re live streaming and looking for ways to reach more people with your videos, you may want to consider creating an OTT app for Roku or Apple TV. OTT makes it possible to create your own tv channel and broadcast video to the public.

Once upon a time, you had to rely on radio, TV, or cable networks to broadcast to a wide audience. Not only was that competitive and expensive, but it was also impractical as most TV content then was relegated to either news or entertainment. Everything else was often relegated to odd times on the local public television channel. But not anymore!

Now anyone can share content through devices like Roku and Apple TV, using OTT apps to reach an even wider audience than Wayne and Garth ever did on public access TV!

OTT Lets You Broadcast to TV *Without* the Cable Box

While many people aren’t familiar with OTT, pretty much everyone has experienced the technology. OTT stands for Over The Top and is the category for all live streaming and on-demand content that circumvents the traditional broadcasting channels. Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Pandora are examples of media companies using OTT apps to push content to consumers.

Most people will use an OTT device like a Roku stick or something similar to function as a receiver that organizes and categorizes the content on the TV screen. These OTT devices make it easier to access the content you want when you want it, and where you want it.

Why is OTT Such a Big Deal?

We think so. The major networks and cable providers think so and are scrambling to keep up. Disney+ definitely thinks so 😉 But honestly, OTT isn’t just for the big names in entertainment.

Vloggers and podcasters are proving the demand for how-to and educational content. But this concept applies in many different contexts.

If you have an audience you need to communicate with to do business, you could benefit from adding an OTT app to your strategic plan. If you have a camera and an internet connection, you, too, can start your own channel on an OTT platform like Apple TV or Roku.

Take churches, for example. When COVID-19 forced a global shutdown, churches turned to YouTube and Facebook to live stream worship services to homebound congregations. But even despite the conveniences, Facebook and YouTube weren’t created for that and in some cases caused more problems than they solved. Depending solely on Facebook or YouTube for live streaming isn’t a sustainable long-term solution for a variety of reasons.

Even though more and more people are streaming video content on their phones, tablets, and laptops, those small screens don’t compare with a large flatscreen TV. Most people still prefer to watch long-form content on a big screen, or else smartphones, tablets, and computers wouldn’t offer screencasting technology that reflects content to a smart tv.

So if you are live streaming regularly, and want to give your audience more access to your content directly on their TV, an OTT app will help you get there.

How Does an OTT App Work?

As we mentioned earlier, OTT is an acronym that stands for Over The Top. OTT describes how content creators are able to go “Over The Top” of traditional broadcasting by delivering live and on-demand video content using devices (like Roku or Apple TV) that connect to a TV.  With OTT you don’t have to be a major network or cable provider to create and deliver video content to global audiences.

If you’re confused about OTT and how all these devices, components, and services work together, here is a simple way to make sense of all the various terminologies to help you see if an OTT app is right for your business. To understand OTT, you have to know the four major components and how they work together to deliver content online. In very basic terms, the process looks like this:

  • OTT Services describe content providers (Netflix, Hulu, Your Church, etc.)
  • OTT Devices are the hardware that connects the internet to your TV (Roku, Apple TV)
  • OTT Apps are used to deliver live and on-demand video content to audiences through their chosen device.
  • OTT Platforms are the technology used to build and support apps that serve as channels to deliver video content.

We Are OTT Developers for Roku and Apple TV!

Most of our clients know us for our work in web design, video production, branding, and digital marketing, but we also build apps for businesses, nonprofits, churches, and schools. Most recently we’ve created native OTT apps that work with any live streaming service provider, such as Resi, and customize the app with your unique brand. Our OTT app developers are proficient in tvOS as well as Roku app development. If you need an Apple TV app developer or Roku app developer, we’ve got you covered!

We work with many churches around the country, and a common theme in this new age of church live streaming is a need for an OTT app that isn’t hitched to the end of a live streaming service package.

Many live streaming providers will offer an app as part of their package, but the app only works with their live streaming service. If your live streaming needs change and you switch live streaming providers, you’ll often have to find a new Roku or Apple TV app developer.

Our OTT App Works With Any Live Stream

The Cross & Crown OTT App and management platform offers video content creators the freedom and flexibility to choose their own live streaming provider. Some of the services we’re currently working with include Resi, Vimeo, Youtube, Boxcast, and more. Our app also pulls in your video archive so that past videos can be easily categorized and accessible to your viewers on-demand.

We’ve also designed a user-friendly backend management system that simplifies the process of streaming, loading, organizing and publishing content to Roku and Apple TV. It’s important to note that we are NOT offering live streaming services, nor do we plan to. We will leave that service to the live streaming experts. What we want to do is give our clients a simplified way to broadcast their video content to larger audiences.

Not Sure if You Need an OTT App for Your Livestream?

If you’re satisfied with your web-based live streaming service, you may not think a TV app is needed; however, there are added benefits to using apps to deliver video content. For example, you can tell how many people are watching each week, how long they are watching, and what type of content they are watching. Your audience enjoys a better experience with the convenience of easily watching your service on their television. An app also allows your audience to watch or rewatch services on-demand with the video archive feature.

Benefits of Using Cross & Crown’s OTT App

  • You’re never locked into a live streaming service
  • Custom-built to suit the unique needs of your business or organization
  • Watch and rewatch videos when you want
  • Designed to work seamlessly with Apple TV and Roku
  • User-friendly backend management system to keep content organized
  • Content can be organized by category or channel
  • Tracking features to measure your content’s effectiveness and reach
  • One-time set up and monthly service and support
  • A fully customized and branded app to support your mission and vision

We are currently handcrafting OTT apps for churches that are ready to reach more people through live streaming and video on demand (VOD) to Apple TV and Roku channels. But this is a great solution for any business, school, nonprofit, or community organization that has a need to share information with audiences using video content. We like to say that our solution is “service agnostic” meaning that you can use any live streaming service you choose, our app is not an add-on or proprietary to a specific service.

If you are looking for an OTT app developer for your business or nonprofit, please let us know and we will schedule a meeting with you to present the variety of business and enterprise solutions we offer.

Cross & Crown

About Cross & Crown

Cross & Crown is a team of creatives who are passionate about solving problems through design and technology, taking what is there and making it better. Based in Chambersburg, PA, we strive to help educate, advocate, and thrive in a digital world.

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